Police: Suspect In Doctor's Murder Says She Bossed Him Around - New York News

Police: Suspect In Doctor's Murder Says She Bossed Him Around

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Dr. Melissa Ketunuti was killed Monday. On Wednesday night, police took Jason Smith into custody at his home in Levittown. Dr. Melissa Ketunuti was killed Monday. On Wednesday night, police took Jason Smith into custody at his home in Levittown.
CENTER CITY -

It took a special task force of homicide detectives just over 48 hours to track down exterminator Jason Smith at his home in Levittown.

Several hours later, he was charged with tying up Dr. Melissa Ketunuti in her basement, strangling her and setting her body on fire. Police say he came to her home on a house call to get rid of some rodents.

Once inside, "There was an argument, he knocked her down to the ground, got on top of her, he strangled her," said Captain James Clark of the city's Homicide Unit.

Homicide detectives were lead to Smith by surveillance cameras at a local coffee shop and a nearby hospital. He parked his silver Ford F-150 work truck on 18th Street and got out seconds later, as the 35-year-old doctor walked by headed home to meet her exterminator.

"What we saw was the eventual suspect actually following about 30 seconds behind the decedent down 18th Street and then onto Naudain Street," Clark explained.

"He crossed directly in front of a very powerful camera and looked right up at the camera," said Ori Feibush of the OCF Coffee Shop, who helped download the video that cracked the case. "I don't think anyone could believe what they were looking at there. It was so crystal clear."

Police say Smith confessed, telling them he killed Ketunuti after she bossed him around. He used rope to tie her up and strangle her to death. Crime scene investigators found similar rope in the suspect's Crescent Lane home in Levittown.

As to why he set her on fire: "He was attempting to hide the evidence or whatever, DNA we may or may not be able to get," Clark said.

"I'm relieved," one neighbor told FOX 29 after the arrest.

News that Smith was in custody traveled quickly through the slain doctor's neighborhood a few blocks from Rittenhouse Square. Neighbor Mike Shahade said Smith's capture provided at least some relief.

"I'm very pleased," he said. "We were worried there was an intruder, breaking and entering."

"Somebody shouldn't get away with something that stupid," neighbor Victor Pisani told FOX 29.

"We're absolutely grateful they caught the guy so quickly," Feibush said. "It's insane that something like that could happen over here."

Neighbors and top police commanders praised and thanked the task force of homicide detectives who cracked this case.

Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross said "kudos to those guys, they did a great job."

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